Accessibility is an aspect of user experience that aims to ensure the usability of digital services for all user groups regardless of visual, hearing, motoric or cognitive impairments.
The Finnish law on providing digital services came into effect in the spring of 2019. The law obligates the Finnish public sector to adhere to the AA level of accessibility as specified in the WCAG 2.1 guidelines. The law also applies to certain private industries such as water, energy, banking, postal and transportation services.
The guidelines include specifications pertaining to the technological implementation, design and content of a web service. The guidelines aim to ensure the accessibility of a website’s content with assistive technologies (such as screen reader software), usability for people with visual and other impairments and adequate functionality with different devices and interfaces. The fulfillment of the law is overseen by the Regional State Administrative Agency in Southern Finland.
Good accessibility is an advisable practice in web design regardless of legislation. It promotes parity and equality, improves your customer experience and might even cut down costs. Improved search engine visibility is another common advantage.
The law, standards and guidelines cover only certain aspects of accessibility. They do not touch on the intelligibility of the content structure or navigation usability. Accessibility should be considered a key aspect in every step of crafting a web service as a part of user-centered design.
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